Fulton Community Reentry Center opens at site of former prison in Claremont

Screenshot 2024-04-25 at 3.33.56 PM
An April 24 ribbon-cutting marked the opening of the Fulton Community Reentry Center, which took almost 10 years to complete.
Photo courtesy Osborne Association

A Bronx building that was once a state prison is now a place of temporary housing and support for people recently released from incarceration, thanks to a partnership between a local nonprofit and the NYC Department of Social Services (DSS).

Now called the Fulton Community Reentry Center, the seven-story building at 1511 Fulton Ave. near Crotona Park in Claremont has housed many local organizations, in addition to the prison, throughout its history dating back to 1907. Gov. Cuomo ordered the prison closed in 2011, and its new life as a reentry center will begin in May as it opens with 140 residents, all of whom are men over age 50. 

At the center, residents can access job on-site readiness training, life skills classes, community-building activities and referrals to health providers and substance abuse counseling. It will also provide support in the search for permanent housing and jobs. 

This kind of support is sorely needed as the nation’s jails and prisons see larger proportions of older people. The number of adults over age 50 in New York state prisons almost doubled between 2008 and 2021 — even as overall prison populations declined, according to a report by the state comptroller. And the City Council reported that 800 to 1,000 people return to New York City each year after release from incarceration.

The “first of its kind” reentry center is a partnership between the nonprofit Osborne Association, which has an office in the Bronx, and the city’s Department of Social Services. Osborne received a $138M contract with the Department of Social Services to run the facility through 2040, with nonprofits and government entities also contributing to funding. 

Bronx elected officials who have backed the project, which was nearly a decade in the making, celebrated at a ribbon-cutting on April 24.

“This center offers a future to our neighbors returning home and serves as a symbol for the Bronx that we can reverse recidivism by investing in economic stability,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who helped to secure the transfer of the building to Obsorne Association back in 2013. 

“The much-anticipated opening of this building as a reentry facility will result in impactful and transformative change for the Bronx,” Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson added.

This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. to clarify the source of funding for the center.

Reach Emily Swanson at eswanson@schnepsmedia.com or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes